Newest Group of Ridazz: The LAPD

Traditionally, small groups of bike riders from around the city gather together on the fourth Friday of the month and head to the Wilshire/Western Red Line Station to gather for Los Angeles Critical Mass.  This month, following what Streetsblog is calling the "Critical Mass Attack," a new group of riders will be joining the mass: the LAPD.

In a flyer being circulated to bike advocates and within the department, the LAPD has announced that it will be joining the June 25th Los Angeles Critical Mass to both show their support for the rights of cyclists to ride peacably in a large group, be the purpose party or protest; and to help weed out the riders responsibile for the vandalism and other mischief that’s given Critical Mass a bad name.

It’s been a common complaint amongst cyclists that some people use group rides as camoflauge for law breaking.  For months, the popular Midnight Ridazz forum was filled with complaints about a group of bike thieves from Koreatown that would join rides starting in Mid-Wilshire and use the ride as an cover to vandalize, steal, and tag.  In addition to giving the rides a bad name, riders were frustrated that the police would deem a whole ride as troublesome without listening to the riders who tried to point out the culprits.  This seems especially true of the March 2009 "Crank Mob" ride where a small group of riders shoplifted from a Ralph’s on La Brea, a few more got drunk, and a massive conflict between the LAPD and the Mob broke out.

This flyer should also put to rest the idea that Critical Mass and other group rides are somehow an illegal assemblage.  The LAPD flyer states clearly that it supports cyclists rights to protest and ride together in large groups.

How will the LAPD and Critical Mass coexist together on one ride?  There’s precedence for a mutually beneficial relationship, the SFPD and San Francisco Critical Mass have ridden together for years, and the LAPD has sent bike cops to other group rides, albeit much tamer ones, such as the Tour De Ballona rides co-sponsored by L.A. Streetsblog.

However, the devil will be in the details, and Streetsblog will be there to cover the ride as it happens.  For the first time since my son was born, I’ll be hopping on Gunpower and riding Critical Mass myself with camera, flip vid, and cell phone all ready to go.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Critical Mass Rides West, More Problems with “Escort”

|
(editor’s note: Nope, I wasn’t there this month.  This is all second-hand reporting.  Alex de Cordoba did attend the mass and offers a report on the ride and thoughts on how it can move forward at The Engaged Observer. – DN) Last Friday saw the fifth installment of the Los Angeles Critical Mass/ LAPD rides.  […]

What to Expect at Friday’s Critical Mass

|
Believe it or not, this was done with the officer’s consent. Photo: Digable Soul/Flickr Critical Mass has gone mainstream.  Following last month’s "Critical Mass Attack," where an officer was caught on tape kicking at cyclists’ bikes before the cameraman was tackled to the ground, it seems you can’t go anywhere without reading or discussing Critical […]

Group Rides and the LAPD, Still Working It Out

|
While the relationship between the Los Angeles Police Department and large group bike rides, such as Critical Mass or CRANK Mob, have improved by leaps and bounds over the summer; reactions to last Saturday’s CRANK Mob ride, aka CRANKMAS III, shows there is still some work to do. Readers may remember that after an ugly […]

We Rode As One

|
By now you’ve probably heard the news about last Friday’s Los Angeles Critical Mass, now with cops!, and have read touching accounts of cyclist’ new B.F.F.’s. If you haven’t, you can get a feel for how the ride went by watching the video above, and reading Kumbaya, posted here on Saturday and Undiscovered Country posted […]

Critical Mass: A Calm Ride Through the Streets of L.A.

|
Critical Mass avoided controversy on Friday night, rolling to the Westside to UCLA Medical Center (where the last hospitalized victim from the Culver City Crash a couple of weeks ago is still recovering) to the traditional stop at Western and Sunset.  Tickets were kept to a minimum, I could count on one hand the number […]